Top 30 Actors

by directorsdaughtr | created - 02 Oct 2012 | updated - 11 Jul 2014 | Public

RECENTLY UPDATED!!

A list of what I consider to the best 40 actors in film and television, both living and dead.

1. Heath Ledger

Actor | Brokeback Mountain

When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. His work comprised ...

2. Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor | Inception

Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s,...

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Actor | Inception

Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and ...

4. Jason Segel

Actor | Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Multi-talented Jason Jordan Segel was born in Los Angeles, California, where he was raised by his parents, Jillian (Jordan), a homemaker, and Alvin Segel, a lawyer. His mother is of English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry, and his father is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. He was educated at St. ...

5. Mark Duplass

Actor | Safety Not Guaranteed

Mark Duplass was born on December 7, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA as Mark David Duplass. He is an actor and producer, known for Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), Creep (2014) and The One I Love (2014). He has been married to Katie Aselton since August 26, 2006. They have two children.

6. Colin Firth

Actor | A Single Man

Colin Andrew Firth was born into an academic family in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His mother, Shirley Jean (Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at the Open University, and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, lectured on history at Winchester University College (formerly King Alfred's...

7. Tom Hanks

Producer | Cast Away

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has ...

8. James Stewart

Actor | Vertigo

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

9. Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor | The Imitation Game

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born and raised in London, England. His parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch), are both actors. He is a grandson of submarine commander Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, and a great-grandson of diplomat Henry Arnold ...

10. Michael Fassbender

Actor | Shame

Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. ...

11. Jim Parsons

Actor | The Big Bang Theory

Having grown up in Houston, and its northern suburb of Spring, he made his first stage appearance in a school play at the age of 6. Parsons then went on to study theater at the University of Houston. From there he won a place on a two-year Masters course in classical theater at the University of ...

12. Harrison Ford

Actor | Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk,...

13. Daniel Radcliffe

Actor | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989 in Fulham, London, England, to casting agent Marcia Gresham (née Jacobson) and literary agent Alan Radcliffe. His father is from a Northern Irish Protestant background, while his mother was born in South Africa, to a Jewish family (from Lithuania, ...

14. John Cleese

Actor | A Fish Called Wanda

John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he ...

15. Tim Curry

Actor | Congo

Timothy James Curry was born on April 19, 1946 in Grappenhall, Cheshire, England. His mother, Maura Patricia (Langmead), was a school secretary, and his father, James Curry, was a Methodist Royal Navy chaplain. Curry studied Drama and English at Birmingham University, from which he graduated with ...

16. Alan Arkin

Actor | Argo

Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer.

He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946 the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to ...

17. Bill Murray

Actor | Lost in Translation

Bill Murray is an American actor, comedian, and writer. The fifth of nine children, he was born William James Murray in Wilmette, Illinois, to Lucille (Collins), a mailroom clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, who sold lumber. He is of Irish descent. Among his siblings are actors Brian Doyle-Murray, ...

18. Billy Crystal

Actor | Forget Paris

Billy Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. He is the youngest of three sons born to Helen (Gabler) and Jack Crystal. His father was a well-known concert promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. His family were Jewish immigrants ...

19. George Clooney

Actor | Up in the Air

George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and television host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney ...

20. Seth MacFarlane

Writer | Family Guy

Seth Woodbury MacFarlane was born in the small New England town of Kent, Connecticut, where he lived with his mother, Ann Perry (Sager), an admissions office worker, his father, Ronald Milton MacFarlane, a prep school teacher, and his sister, Rachael MacFarlane, now a voice actress and singer. He ...

21. Rhys Ifans

Actor | The Amazing Spider-Man

Rhys Ifans was born and raised in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of teacher parents, Beti Wyn (Davies) and Eirwyn Evans. He was educated in two Welsh language schools - Ysgol Pentrecelyn, where his mother taught, and Ysgol Maes Garmon. During his childhood, Ifans showed an interest in...

22. Steve Carell

Actor | The Office

Steve Carell, one of America's most versatile comics, was born Steven John Carell on August 16, 1962, in Concord, Massachusetts. He is the son of Harriet Theresa (Koch), a psychiatric nurse, and Edwin A. Carell, an electrical engineer. His mother was of Polish descent and his father, of Italian and...

23. Hugh Grant

Actor | Love Actually

Hugh Grant, one of Britain's best known faces, has been equally entertaining on-screen as well as in real life, and has had enough sense of humor to survive a media frenzy. He is known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), with Andie MacDowell, Notting Hill (1999), opposite Julia ...

24. Robert Downey Jr.

Actor | Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business.

Downey was born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York, the son of writer, director and ...

25. Pablo Schreiber

Actor | 13 Hours

Pablo Tell Schreiber was born in Ymir, British Columbia, Canada, to Lorraine Reaveley, a Canadian psychotherapist, and Tell Schreiber, an American actor. His paternal half-brother is actor Liev Schreiber. Pablo, who is named after Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, was raised in Ymir, and moved to Seattle,...

26. Emile Hirsch

Actor | Into the Wild

Emile Davenport Hirsch was born in Palms, California, to Margaret Esther (Davenport), a teacher and visual artist, and David M. Hirsch, an entrepreneur and producer. He grew up in Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and having been introduced to acting while still at school, he got his first ...

27. Paul Dano

Actor | There Will Be Blood

Paul Dano was born on June 19, 1984 in New York City, New York, USA as Paul Franklin Dano. He is an actor, known for There Will Be Blood (2007), Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Prisoners (2013).

28. Zachary Levi

Actor | Chuck

The middle child between two sisters, Zachary Levi was born as Zachary Levi Pugh, on September 29, 1980, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Susan (Hoctor) and Darrell Pugh. He uses his middle name as his stage surname, because his birth name, "Pugh", which is of Welsh origin, sounds too much like "Pew"...

29. Simon Helberg

Actor | The Big Bang Theory

Simon Helberg was born and raised in Los Angeles but despite this, and the fact that his father is the actor Sandy Helberg and his mother the casting director Harriet B. Helberg, his main interest as a young boy was karate. In his teens, though, he discovered acting and went on to study at New York...

30. Matthew Macfadyen

Actor | Pride & Prejudice

David Matthew Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir (Owen), a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father's career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his ...